Tea Party activists tell Boehner to stand firm

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 25, 2011 5:23 PM
Tea Party activists tell Boehner to stand firm

WEST CHESTER, Ohio (Reuters) - Tea Party activists demanded House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner deliver on budget cuts at a rally on Monday at his Ohio offices, urging the Republican leader to "stand strong" in debt negotiations.

About 100 people chanted "no more spending" and hoisted banners and signs reading "No New Taxes" and "Do Not Cave" outside the 11-term Republican's offices near Cincinnati.

"He needs to hear a resounding message that Americans want him to BE BOLD, STAND STRONG, CUT THE SPENDING," said the rally announcement from the local Tea Party.

Around the same time as the rally, Boehner outlined his party's budget strategy as pressure grew on Congress to raise the government's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before an August 2 deadline.

Demonstrators listening to Boehner on the radio cheered when he urged President Barack Obama, a Democrat, to put "people before politics" in resolving the stalemate.

"It's like having a credit card. You can't keep asking for an extension without making any payments," local Tea Party leader Susan McLaughlin said.

The group gathered some 1,000 letters and copies of e-mails from all over the United States urging Boehner to maintain a firm stance.

"Speaker Boehner holds the gavel and all the power," Ohio Tea Party leader Sue Hardenbergh said. "Americans know the truth about our country's dire financial situation and are ready to do what it takes to get our country on the path to prosperity."

The Tea Party movement, which advocates limited government, was vital to Republican gains in last year's congressional elections, helping them gain the majority in the House that resulted in Boehner taking the speakership.

Without a deal -- and dueling congressional debt plans have offered little prospect for compromise -- the United States may default on its debt obligations and ratings agencies are likely to downgrade U.S. debt, which could set off chaos in global markets.

(Reporting by Sean Peters; Writing by Andrew Stern; Editing by Jerry Norton)